Beloved, being very eager to write to you of our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For admission has been secretly gained by some who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly persons who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. ~ Jude 3,4
- the abandonment or renunciation of a religious or political belief: “the execution of their leader for apostasy brought widespread criticism”
I am very passionate about the truth, very passionate about divine truth, God’s truth. My whole life is devoted to the truth. My whole ministry is devoted to the truth. It’s driven by the truth revealed in the scriptures. Really, I live and breathe for the truth. I realize that God has exalted His truth as high as His name. I know that He is the God of truth. That’s how He identifies Himself. I know that Jesus Christ, the glory of God in human flesh, according to John, is full of truth. He is the way, the truth, and the life. I know that Jesus said that the truth would set the sinner free from sin and death. The Bible is called the word of truth. Jesus said to His Father, “Your word is truth.” And in the scriptures, we’re commanded to worship God in truth. We’re commanded to obey the truth, to love the truth, to judge by the truth, to speak the truth in love, to walk in the truth, and as we learned in John’s epistle, to love in the truth…we are responsible to hold up the truth. ~ John McArthur, Jude 1, The Enemy Within
If you have ever felt attacked, maligned, marginalized, or shamed for speaking the truth or simply defending the truth, today’s message is for you. The same Holy Spirit that tucked Jude’s (brother of James, half-brother of Jesus) 25-verse epistle between John’s last epistle and the Book of Revelation, the Biblical finale, presented his dire warning to us in these final moments before the most important election of our lifetime, in what many theologians see as our end times. Every other epistle of the New Testament deals with the acts of the Apostles. Jude is the only epistle entirely devoted to the acts of the apostates. What began as intention to write of “our common salvation” yielded to divine pressure from the Holy Spirit to focus on the enemies of truth in our twilight’s last gleaming…before the Revelation.
Jude switches from his eagerness to write about our common salvation to the necessity of calling us to arms in the contending for the faith. In John McArthur’s Jude 1 sermon, he talks about the scarcity of the earnest contenders willing to defend the church against the great pretenders. The savage wolves who will come in among you, Paul warns us about. Contend is such an important word here…to contend for something means to strive, or vie in contest, or rivalry, or against difficulties…to struggle. I wonder if it was mere coincidence that John C. Maxwell brought me “Confrontation Results in Purity and Security” on the same day John McArthur brought me his message on Jude? “Why is confrontation so difficult? We often misunderstand its purpose. Our goal among brothers should not be to punish or excommunicate, but to restore. Confrontation is a redemptive act of leadership.” There is no possible way to contend for the faith without confronting the apostacy in our midst. I believe Jude was carried in on the wings of the same Holy “Pentecostal” spirit that brought us to this week’s Prayer & Fast Wednesday:
The Pentecostal Spirit (Acts 2:4) is raising…the voice of the elect. The Pentecostal Spirit is speaking…to those seeking. The Pentecostal Spirit is prevailing…for those hearing. And those of us hearing know and understand His one greatest (John 17:21) hope for those to whom He gave free will.
If fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom (Proverbs 9:10), then fear of man is its undoing. It is not for me or any man to question another man’s calling. But it is for me to love my brother as He loves me…even unto my own discomfort, disadvantage…and end.
The few who gather where the many fear to tread, who understand the enemy, what he fears most, and how to defeat him, gathered this past Sunday to seek the guidance and authority of the Pentecostal Spirit to make our voice as One for Him, and strike a chord that would touch the heart of every church as sweet as David’s harp to God’s own ear. The very next morning I awoke to the wisdom of C.S. Lewis, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”
Please join us for Prayer & Fast Wednesday tomorrow my friends, with prayerful focus on God granting us the wisdom of Solomon as may be found 1 Kings 3:5-6,9 and fear of the Lord as may be found in Revelation 5:1-14.
God knows we will need the wisdom of Solomon and true fear of the Lord to defeat the enemy Jude so passionately exposes: They are compared to angels that kept not their 1st Estate; they’re compared to the homosexuals of Sodom and Gomorrah; they are compared to those who went the way of Caine; those who can be bought to give their prophecies like Balaam; they’re like clouds without water; they’re like trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; they’re like wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; they’re wandering stars for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.
Apostasy is everywhere within the church and state…you can see it in the faces of the people you meet in their unguarded moments…on the street, on the job, and in the churches. When a man is happy, he cannot pull a long face, he may try to, but it is the face of a clown; when he is happy inside he shows it on the outside. If you hear a Christian with a sad face saying, “Oh, I am so full of the joy of the Lord,” well, you know it is not true. If I am full of the joy of the Lord, it will pour out of every cell of my body. ~ Oswald Chambers, Happiness in God
Learn to recognize the voice of apostasy…
Hey Jude, don’t make it bad Take a sad song and make it better Remember to let her into your heart Then you can start to make it better Hey Jude, don’t be afraid You were made to go out and get her The minute you let her under your skin Then you begin to make it better And any time you feel the pain Hey Jude, refrain Don’t carry the world upon your shoulder For well you know that it’s a fool who plays it cool By making his world a little colder ~ Hey Jude, The Beatles
If Satan were to write a song to convince the author of the greatest and most important warning for all the ages…the very last watchman before the hour…with the world on his shoulder, to refrain…would this not be the perfect ear tickler?
Dear friends…I have a confession to make. It wasn’t John Lennon who tickled my ear and led me to promote the work of an apostate; it was Wild at Heart and Fathered by God author John Eldredge himself. Within the past two months I not only recommended Fathered by God to four Christian brothers and sisters to read…I gave them my personal copy! Now here is the most amazing Holy Spirit rub in all of this. God first opens my eyes to the story of Jude, and then He delivers the truth about John Eldredge, who ironically is caught in the snare of his own Open Theism heresy. God, the author of it ALL, knew every last detail of how this book came into my life, and exactly what I would do with it, since before the beginning of time.
Here’s the healing beauty in all of this. The apostasy that has swamped every last nook and cranny of our lives, suffocating and poisoning our spiritual lives, and leaving us physically ill and vulnerable to disease, can instantly be eradicated with bold and beautiful Truth in Love! BUT…it requires the one thing we have grown to fear…Confrontation. Not to punish or excommunicate, but to restore. A redemptive act, as Maxwell puts it. What better time than now? We need to take a very close look at everything and everyone in our lives, recognize the apostasy and root it out once and for all. It’s actually very, very simple. Look for the voice that discourages courage. Look for the voices that promote social justice over God’s own justice in scriptural truth. And look for the voice that criticizes bold defense of the truth in all places. And my favorite of all…look for the voices that persuade you away from political and civic debate. Find them, approach them, and knowing we are called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ, confront them with the truth in love. C.S. Lewis was absolutely right. Each one of us has not only the power but the obligation to start right here and now, to change the ending for the truth of His Glory. Think (John 17:21) Amen?